The Lottery: Litterary Response

1514 Words Dec 10th, 2010 7 Pages
Literary Response: The Lottery
The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, is a compelling story about the human race and how it is affected by its surrounding traditions. When the 27th of June arrives, a village is overtaken by a two hour lottery, which includes the picking of stones, a black box and ends in a fight for the “winners” life.
One of the prominent themes in this story is human hypocrisy. Although most of the characters are shown through their words and actions, one particular person stands out: Mrs “Tessie” Hutchinson. At the beginning of the story, Tessie heads towards the town square, stating that she “forgot what day it was” to her neighbour Mrs. Delacroix as they both chuckled softly. Soon enough, phrases are shared between Tessie
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A young child might ask,”What gods are we pleasing?”,and, “Are you sure we are doing the right thing?”, but they would still get the same answer: “because the bible said so” or , “ We’ve been doing this for centuries”. The Lottery illustrates that we are living in a world where you are ostracised for believing in nothing at all and being brainwashed into believing in another.
The first technique present in this story is symbolism. Two items are used during the lottery: a black box and stones. In a way, the black box holds each and every persons destiny and fate. The fact that it is black is a symbol of what they ahve witnessed every year: death. Every year, the lottery is taken place and, at the same time, death makes its mark. It comes back to take whoever’s been left behind. Like the old saying “It is always darkest before dawn”, death hangs over them until they have pleased the gods; until they have a lifetime supply of crops. This story brings us into the darker side of the lottery. The side where not everything is as it seems. If it weren’t for the color of the box, it would have been harder to interpret where the story was heading off to. The second items where the stones: “the young boys begin to gather their stones and make a pile in the corner, guarding them like their most prized weapon”. The stones symbolize the beating of a person, in

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